Every Christmas Eve, my Mum would bring out her special Christmas Cake for Dessert. She would usually make it at least a month, if not two, before the special day, and then keep it in a cool room, visiting it every few weeks to douse it in Brandy. Actually, she would make up to half a dozen of these cakes over the season, as friends and family placed their orders with her every year. Making it a few months in advance allows the many flavours to develop and the Brandy to soak into the Cake, making it rich & moist. It’s funny, as a child I never really liked this cake (I think it was the Citrus peel my Mum used to put in it, so I’ve left that out and replaced it with Zest instead), but as I get older I crave this every year, and no Christmas would be complete without it. Since my Mum passed away I’ve been keeping up the tradition, but with a veganized version! Here is my adaptation of her wonderful cake – I hope you get to share it with your family this Christmas. And make sure you cover it in Custard!
1/2 cup Soy Butter/Margerine
1/2 cup Glace Cherries
1/4 cup chopped Dates
3 cups mixed Dried Fruit (ie: Raisins, Sultanas, Cranberries, Currants, Apricots)
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 cup Water
1 tsp. Baking Soda
2 Tblsp. Brandy
equivalent of 2 Eggs (I used Ener-G egg replacer 3 tsp. powder + 4 Tblsp. water)
2 cups Flour (I use half Unbleached White, half Whole Wheat Pastry)
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Cocoa Powder
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. each of Cinnamon, All Spice and Cloves (I also added 1/4 tsp. ground Ginger)
1/2 tsp. Lemon Zest (optional)
1/2 tsp. Orange Zest (optional)
For decorating the top: 1/2 cup Glace Cherries, washed & halved
1/2 cup of Pecan Nuts
– Preheat oven to 140C. Line & grease 20cm round cake tin.
– Place Butter, Fruit, Sugar, Water, Baking Soda & 1 Tblsp. Brandy in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Allow to boil around 5 mins. Remove from heat, and add Egg Replacer.
– Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl, and add fruit mixture folding in gently until blended.
– Pour into prepared tin and, working quickly, decorate the top of cake as desired with Pecan Nuts and Glace Cherries.
– Bake at 140C for 45 mins., then lower heat to 120C and bake another 30-45 mins. or until a scewer inserted in middle comes out clean. (You may have to cover with foil if the top is burning too quickly)
– Once removed, pour remaining 1 Tblsp. Brandy over cake while still hot. Allow to cool in tin, then wrap cake in cling film, place back in tin with a lid and keep in a cool dark place. Every 2 weeks, open cling film and pour 2 -4 Tblsp. Brandy over the top of the cake, covering it again right away to let the alcohol soak in.